How to make your own Sourdough starter?

sourdoughstarterHi all,

I have to say, we managed to get this right at our fourth attempt! So it takes a while, but after trying this or that recipe, I finally managed to combine the knowledge from all of them to this. 

My first intention was to get a San Fransiscan sourdough starter as everyone was saying that is the best, but whilst I was there, I couldn’t get hold of one, so decided to look into other ways of finding it. Then, I realised that sourdough is sourdough, it gets everything it needs, the secret from the air that you breathe, from the flour you use. In order words, each sourdough will taste different depending on where you are. So mine is a Blackheathen sourdough and tastes very very nice : )

You will need:

200 grams white organic flour ( try to get the best you can)

200 ml lukewarm water

7- 8 dried raisins

a wooden spoon (definitely wooden, don’t ask me why, but the previous ones did not work so I stick with it)

a glass jar with a sealed top ( you will need a sealed top once it is ready, as you will put it in the fridge after a week)

a muslin 

a kitchen cloth

plastic band x  2

a measuring cup ( I used the measure which comes with my bread machine)

jar

But how?

Pick a time in the day that you can feed your starter. I chose the mornings but a couple of hours before or after does not matter too much in my experience. 

DAY 1

Pour 200 grams of flour and 200 ml lukewarm water into a glass jar. Add raisins and stir well with a wooden spoon. Don’t leave any flour balls inside. I stirred quite a lot, even though many recipes say the reverse. Cover it with muslin and attach a plastic band on top so it stays secure. Then cover it with a kitchen cloth and a plastic band again so it does not get any sunlight. I did not close the lid of the jar, it was wide open (apart from the cloth).

DAY 2 – 4

Feed 60-80g of flour and 60-90ml of lukewarm water to keep it up. Again, stir well with a wooden spoon and see the bubbles. If it starts going pink or weird colour and has very bad smell, it might be off possibly so start over. But don’t get disheartened and try adding flour and water first as sometimes it picks up. I felt like mine was about to go off as the water and the flour were separating, but apparently this is not a bad thing. As long as you have bubbles appearing once you mix well, it will be fine.

DAY 5 – 7 

It should be consistent by now and you can start taking enough out of the jar to bake your own bread around these days. 

Once your yeast is ready, feed it for a couple more days, then keep it in the fridge. Whenever you need to bake, take it out, feed flour and water then rest for a couple of hours outside. It will be ready again.

Here’s the recipe to make your own sourdough bread!

How to make butternut squash taste delicious?

butternut squash

Well, easy, having tried this recipe, butternut squash is no longer an unknown! Everytime I saw this yellow funny shaped thing in the market, I wanted to buy, but had no idea how to cook except in a soup. Eureka! It is a recipe Ebru suggested but she says it is some well known chefs recipe, so as soon as I learn, I will let you know. (Now I can confirm that it is a recipe from Hugh Fearnley – Whittingstall )

Lets start now, ingredients for 4 people:

two equal sized butternut squash
feta cheese
parsley
olive oil
garlic cloves 2- 3
paprika, black pepper, salt

1. Halve both butternut squashes into two so, now you have for pieces.

2. Crush the garlic cloves then put some olive oil paprika, black pepper and the crushed garlic in a bowl and mix them well then brush this mixture onto the butternut squash.

3. Heat the oven to about 200 c then put the butternut squash halves onto a tray, leave for about 15 minutes. Check them with a fork if they are not soft enough, leave more.

4. Once they are softened, take the tray out, with the help of a knife, scoop out the flesh of the squash then mash it with feta. After that, add the mixture inside the butternut squash skin.

Bakery pastries

bakery

Hello there,

Finally I have a bit of time to add new recipes, this recipe is extremely good, because the results can be eaten in the morning, at lunchtime or in the evening… It is something you won’t regret trying… Delicious! Also it goes well with any food as a bread if you cook the plain version. I should thank Cenk for cooking it for us last festive season then sending the recipe to all of us.

Now here we go:

What do I need to have?

3 egg whites (keep the yolks separate we will use them later)
5 turkish teacups of warm milk (tricky one I would say 1 pint of warm milk)
2 packs of instant yeast (apprx 10 – 14 g) or 2 packs of fresh yeast (apprx 80 g)
1 1/2 dessert spoons of salt
1 dessert spoon of sugar
1 pack of margarine
white or brown flour (as much as the dough needs – see below)

Do not get scared about how much margarine is needed, as you will see when you prepare the dough!

How do I cook it then?

Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and knead until it becomes a dough. The dough should be very very soft, almost like liquid but not totally, slightly softer then your earlobe hehe:)

Then leave the dough in the bowl somewhere warm (next to a radiator) and cover it with a tea-towel but do not cover with a cling film as it needs to grow a bit. It will ferment for about half an hour or an hour – check it occasionally. When it has doubled in size, then it is ready for cooking.

Rub your hands with a bit of oil to make it easy to roll the doughballs. As I said above, a lot of margarine but you get at least 24 doughballs out of it in the end, enough for a party!

dough

I used a muffin base to cook them, but any flat tray would be good, you just have to give a nice shape and it reminds me of Japanese cartoons a lot. Do you remember how delicious looking the breads are in Japanese cartoons?! Anyway may be it is just me:)

Ok, when you are shaping the doughballs you can add any filling you like but pay attention to keep the filling inside, not mixed with the dough. I prefer feta cheese with parsley, or plain cheese cheddar or feta, or boiled and mashed potato with a bit of spice or minced meat. (But cook the minced meat and cool it down before you add it. )

When you lay the doughballs on your tray, leave them to rise a bit more. During that time, brush them with egg yolk, and cover them with seeds (sesame, sunflower, or anything you like).

Then, preheat the oven to 200°C (400F / gas mark 6) and place on a baking tray for about 15 minutes.

Tabbouleh – KISIR

bulgur wheat

“If you were leaving for a desert island which three mezes would you take along with you?” The reporter asks. Lebanese cook does not hesitate: “Tabbouleh, tabbouleh and tabbouleh.”

This was on BBC radio the other day while I was about to start making tabbouleh or Kısır as it is said in Turkish. And I do believe that it is one of the easiest and tastiest meze i ever had. Also very healthy as it is cooked with bulgar wheat.

It is one of the dishes my mom used to do for tea when her friends were coming over. In Lebanon, they like it is more like parsley salad. which I quite like as well. Ok, let’s begin then!

What do I need to buy?

  • 1 Cup Bulgur Wheat (fine grained you can find two types of bulgur wheat either fine or for rice)
  • 1/2 Cup olive oil
  • 1/2 Cup lemon juice
  • 2 – 3 tsbp of tomato and pepper paste
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 bunch flat parsley
  • 1 bunch mint
  • 5 -6 spring onions
  • 2-3 ripe tomatoes finely chopped (optionally peeled)
  • pomegranate sauce (optional and could be found in middle eastern shops)

How do I cook it then?

  1. Cover the wheat in boiling water and let stand for five minutes it will absorb all the water
  2. mix lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper then add half of it over the wheat.
  3. Chop the spring onions, parsley, mint, tomatoes and cucumber.
  4. Mix all the vegetables with bulgur wheat while stirring add the rest of the oil- lemon juice mixture.
  5. If you can find some pomegranate sauce this is the time to add it. It has a sour taste so It is important not to add a lot if you put lemon juice already.
  6. Refrigerate few hours but you can have it without refrigerating.
  7. Tabbouleh is ready, you can have it with some iceberg lettuce a well, enjoy!

Green Beans and tomatoes (with olive oil)

green beans size 600

Hello, hello!

Back again, with a classic summer recipe! I don`t know if it is cooked around other parts of the Mediterranean but I do know it is surely a dish you cook a lot whilst you are dealing with 40 degree Celsius heat in the Aegean. When it is hot, it is hard to eat heavy food – that’s why most Mediterranean countries have these lovely olive oil dishes.. So, what is our first lesson? We have to keep a nice bottle of olive oil in the kitchen:) ( I will tell you how to choose a good olive oil later)

Some info about fresh green beans: First of all, they have vitamins A, B, C, phosphate, potassium, iron and calcium. If you prepare green beans with olive oil you will get the most benefit of these.

Right, now how to choose the right green beans? In the supermarkets there is no choice, so go with the thin ones if you can find them, but If you have a farmers market, then you can ask for an easy to cook version.

If they are too hard, boil them for 10 – 15 mins before you start cooking.

What do I need to buy?

The ingredients are:

A pack of green beans (normally 300 gr or so)

1 onion

2 – 3 tomatoes (depending how tasty or how big they are)

3 – 4 cloves of garlic (depends if you like it)

1 tea spoon of salt

1 and a half tea spoons of sugar

5 – 6 spoons of olive oil

How do I cook it then?

1. Put the olive oil in the pan, (the hob should be high at this time) and add the finely chopped onions, play with them until they start turning yellowish.

2. Add your tomatoes with their juice, and let them relax. Then it is time to add the chopped garlic cloves.

3. Stir them altogether, then add the green beans, and stir them with other ingredients. Whilst doing this, boil some water and add it slowly to your pan. Keep in mind that the water should be slightly higher than the level of the green beans. Bring them to boil then lower the hob to medium.

4. Cook them for 15-20 mins (depending upon the hardness of the green beans) and check whether the green beans have softened.

If not, then add some water (but not too much, we don’t want it to taste too watery).

5. After they have cooked, put them on a plate or in a box and let them cool down in the fridge. The green beans are ready and you can eat them for the following three days unless you leave them outside..

Afiyet olsun !

a.,